Skyrim: A Shout To Game Developers
What’s the deal with Bethesda’s latest adventure, Skyrim? Well, aside from the fact that it is awesomely addictive, Skyrim is suffering from a PlayStation 3 “only” unresolved lag issue that is compromising the experience for many PS3 owners. Although I haven’t started playing Skyrim, I am a bit afraid that by the time I will hit the 60 Hours mark, I will reach the pinnacle of my adventure.
Apparently, there have been many speculations regarding the origin of the problem and the correct methods to resolve it. Patch 1.2 was released by Bethesda to resolve some issues, including the lag problem, however, the problem still persists. According to many users, not only did Patch 1.2 not fix the issue, but also made things worse, as they are now experiencing more issues, including the infamous flying backward dragon glitch.
Dragon Flying Backward after patch 1.2
That pushed Bethesda to release a statement apologizing for many fans and promising a more accurate research before releasing a future patch.
[spoiler intro=”Press Here for full statement given by Bethesda”]After the holidays, we’ll continue to release regular updates for the game – through full title updates, as well as incremental ‘gameplay updates’ to fix whatever issues come up along with rebalancing portions of the game for difficulty or exploits. We plan on having a lot of these, not just a few. Overall, you should expect updates to be hitting the PC and Steam earlier and more often, as that’s a process we control. Console updates will follow, as they must be certified and processed by those manufacturers.
We all know this is a huge game, and everyone has a different experience. We’ll continue to do everything we can to make the game better and better for as many people as possible every day. We’ve also realized that with the millions upon millions of people playing Skyrim, we need to treat our updates with greater care. If we get too aggressive trying to fix a minor issue, we run a risk of breaking something larger in a game like this. To be safe, we are prioritizing code side fixes right now over data fixes. Quest and balance issues are usually data, and those will start rolling in a large way with the January updates.”[/spoiler]
Last week, Joshua Sawyer “Ex-Bethesda developer who worked on Fallout: New Vegas and a previous Elder Scrolls game” released a very controversial comment referring the problem to an engine-level issue. Sawyer’s explanation is built on the fact that the PS3 has a divided memory pool.
It is an engine-level issue with how the save game data is stored. We’re talking about how the engine fundamentally saves off and references data at run time. Restructuring how that works would require a large time commitment …
Hmm, obviously my next question will be how large we’re talking here, Ex. Bethesda employee? Bethesda’s, clearly been on the defensive side here, PR and marketing vise president Pete Hines denied the explanation through Twitter, offering the following tips to improve game performance:
– Turn off auto saves. This can cause temporary stuttering since the PS3 saves these files in the background. This is most noticeable with large saves when fast traveling to a new area or entering a new area that auto saves.
– Clear space on your hard drive. Skyrim makes heavy use of the hard drive, and freeing up space on here seems to help many people. Hard drive speeds also differ in PS3 models. Some users have reported increase performance by upgrading their drives.
– Waiting for time to pass. Many things are running in the world depending on what quests you’ve done or places you have visited. Using Wait or Rest options, passing time will clear up some of these. It depends how long you wait, it may take up to 30 days for some items. Saving, resetting, and loading after this will have the largest effect.
Really Pete? Waiting for time to pass? I am suppose to spend my precious gaming time in Skyrim resting? Well, Bethesda issued a NEW statement yesterday saying that they are already reaching out to a number of PS3 owners whom still have been experiencing issues in terms of the large save file and the lag. Here is the full statement:
While the 1.2 update fixed the long-term play issues for most PS3 users, we are aware that is not the case for some. We’ve been reaching out to a number of those users to collect save games, so we can take a look at their specific issues. Right now we know it’s not one thing, but a combination of smaller ones that some folks are seeing, but others are not. Some seem to be the PS3 autosaving in the background (you can turn that off), some may be SPU AI updates, and some may relate to dynamic system memory allocation.
“These fixes are not in the current 1.3 update that is in final testing, but will be in future ones. We understand how frustrating it can be when your game is having issues, and we thank all of you for your continued feedback and patience. Rest assured we take your gameplay experience seriously and will continue working on this until it’s resolved.
So .. the new patch will not address the current problems with the game? Yeah, that’s an arrow to the knee alright! My concerns are clearly that developers are not making enough effort to test their games before release. In some cases, the release date set by publishers are the main concern. Hey, they might be making some progress here. at least they’ve acknowledged the issue and seem to be committed to resolve it. That’s an improvement I guess, but when I pay almost $100 for some good time (I know that didn’t sound right), I expect quality product people.
Watch out for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review by Pedro, who is working hard on giving you an insight on one of the most promising nominees for the game of the year award.